My Tools of the Trade

In the past few weeks I’ve come to write more than I was previously used to doing. (Yay!) In doing so, I’ve noticed certain patterns in when and how I write, and found useful ways of aiding that. Specifically, three tools together currently make up my writing arsenal. These allow me to write from literally anywhere and have my progress saved so I can access all of it anywhere.

  1. The main hub of my new system is Dropbox. I could sing its praises as though I was getting paid, but I won’t; I’ll just give you the rundown of why it’s useful to me.
    • Space: 2.25 GB to be precise. (And more if you get people to sign up using your referral link, like mine right here.) Plenty of space for all my writing needs. Actually, most of the 32% I’m using is being taken up by files for my gaming group and reaction gifs for Tumblr right now… but even so I still have plenty of space for writing! (And other hobbies. I’ve also got a folder of web design stuff on there.)
    • Access: My files are everywhere I want them.  Back when I had access to my old computers? All my Dropbox files where there. My iPhone? All my Dropbox files are there, even though it’s only running on wifi now. And now that I’m borrowing someone else’s computer and don’t have the ability to download programs? All my Dropbox files are available online whenever I want them. (Same goes if I’m out at a public computer, at the library or something.)
    • Filetypes: If I wanna save my writing as text files or Word docs? Supported. I want to save a picture I found online that looks like my character? Supported. I wanna save a PDF file of NaNoWriMo tips? Supported. A song that reminds me of a particular scene I want to write? Supported. (Though I try to refrain from putting music on there because of the size.)
    • Sharing: At first this wasn’t really appealing to me, cause I tend to be hermit-ish about my work, but having someone who can read my stuff and help with any trouble I have can be a great asset. The ability to share folders lets me do that. And I can choose to share only certain folders, so if there’s some kind of backstory or meta-knowledge my readers shouldn’t have yet, my proofreader doesn’t have to get spoiled.
  2. I often find myself awake at 2 and 3 in the morning, lying in bed unable to sleep, writing plans running through my head, but nowhere near a computer. This is where PlainTextcomes in. It’s an iPhone app, so all I have to do is keep my iPhone next to my bed and it’s there whenever I get struck with an idea. Some features I like:
    • It’s clean. White background, black text, and a simple, readable font. No bells and whistles, nothing to distract me from my writing.
    • The ability to create and manage folders in-app is really handy.
    • It only has access to a certain folder (and its subfolders) unless you sync it with the root folder, so there’s no risk of me messing with other files. It keeps me focused.
    • It only writes text files. While some may find this a hinderence, I find the lack of ability to play with styling more conducive to actually getting writing done as opposed to, well, playing with styling.
    • It works offline, so I can write wherever I am and just sync with Dropbox when I’m back in an area with wifi. Flights? Write.
  3. TextDrop [developer link] is the final weapon of mass writing for me. You sign in with your Dropbox credentials and type away.
    • Like PlainText, it only opens and writes text files, so it’s an options-free writing environment.
    • TextDrop allows me to write from any browser without having to go through the hassle of writing a document with whatever word processor the computer has, saving the file, and uploading that to Dropbox.
    • TextDrop fills the void in my browser-based writing that a lack of syncing between GoogleDocs and Dropbox had created. Writing in GoogleDocs is more appealing stylistically, but writing in TextDrop lets me edit those files later from PlainText without jumping through hoops.

So that’s my method. Anyone want to share their writing tools? Feel free to leave a comment.

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2 Comments

  1. Great ideas. I think I may have to check out Dropbox. Seems like a good way to make sure you don’t spill Dr. Pepper on our computer and lose everything you have ever written….

    Reply
  2. Hi! I’m the author of TextDrop. Very glad to hear that it is coming in handy for you!

    Best regards
    /sam

    Reply

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